Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ten Hag facing squad obliteration as Man Utd put five stars signed for £269m up for sale

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag

Manchester United are ‘open to offers’ for five major names in January, though why Erik ten Hag might veto several exits has been revealed by a report.

The Red Devils have returned a record of 11 wins, one draw and 11 defeats from their 23 matches across all competitions this season. The end result sees Man Utd sitting six points adrift of fourth spot, out of the EFL Cup and bottom of Group A in the Champions League.

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is primed to purchase a 25 percent stake in the club. Once his partial takeover is ratified, Ratcliffe will assume full sporting control at Old Trafford.

Major change is expected, not least within the playing personnel. Indeed, The Independent claimed on December 7 that Raphael Varane, Casemiro and Jadon Sancho have all been put up for sale.

The trio – signed for a combined £184m (including add-ons) – are three of United’s highest profile stars.

However, Varane and Casemiro are both the wrong side of 30 and each earn north of £300,000-a-week.

Varane has tumbled down the pecking order this season and hasn’t started in the Premier League since September. Casemiro, meanwhile, looked leggy and unable to cope in the holding midfield role prior to picking up a hamstring injury.

Sancho remains frozen out amid his ongoing dispute with Ten Hag. Borussia Dortmund and Juventus have both registered interest in taking Sancho on loan, though Sport claim Man Utd have included the winger in a stunning swap proposal with Barcelona.

Now, a fresh update from the Guardian has doubled down on the claims Varane, Casemiro and Sancho are on the chopping block.

However, they also add Donny van de Beek and Anthony Martial to the mix as Man Utd aim to cut the deadwood loose once and for all.

The Athletic’s David Ornstein reported on Monday that Man Utd have no intention of triggering the one-year option in Martial’s contract.

Martial is out of contract in the summer, meaning the January window is United’s final opportunity to generate a fee for the much-maligned Frenchman.

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Why Ten Hag could block multiple exits

Van de Beek cost £40m (inc. add-ons) to sign from Ajax in 2020. Martial’s final transfer fee hit £44.7m due to only one of his three add-on clauses being met.

As such, United are open to shifting five players signed for roughly a combined £269m next month.

But according to the Guardian, Ten Hag may yet stop an exit or two in their tracks.

It’s noted the Dutchman ‘will not countenance any sale if it weakens his squad.’ He is seemingly open to any and all of the five players being moved on, though not at the expense of his team selections and depth for the remainder of the campaign.

As such, the onus will be on Man Utd to line up adequate replacements. If it’s a simple case of Varane being sold without a replacement being signed, for example, Ten Hag will move to block the departure.

Adding to the difficulty in navigating next month’s window is the fact United do not have a big budget to work with.

The Guardian confirm United must sell before they can buy, meaning a loan exit for Sancho, for example, would do nothing for United’s ability to sign a replacement beyond removing his salary off the books.

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